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Thoughts on the Primary: Not Real News

With Romney’s “surprise” victory in Michigan dominating the headlines this morning, the media circus that is the Republican primaries continues to command the full attention of American journalists and is likely to continue to do so well into the summer.

This is a shame. The primaries thus far have completely failed to surprise. Romney is still in the lead, and his conservative opponents are still divided and unable to capitalize on the base’s obvious discontent with the frontrunner. The media has spilled gallons of ink analyzing the rise and fall of any number of obviously flawed minor candidates, but it appears increasingly unlikely that anyone besides Romney will be the nominee, which most smart observers were expecting from the beginning. If you haven’t been following this race, you haven’t been missing much.

The most significant development in the Republican race so far has been the marginalization of Ron Paul as a serious candidate or spokesperson for American conservatism. Despite a loyal following which includes significant support from many in the media (including a few on the left), Paul has been unable to break out of the bottom tier in any significant way. The GOP base just isn’t buying what Paul is selling.

Soon the primaries will be over, and we can get back to following real news.

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  • ms

    In a sense you are right–the day to day is not exactly real news–and yet we have to live the day to day in order to make the big trends. Even though this race started with Romney as the frontrunner and appears to be headed to the same end, the process has been highly instructive to the party and the nation–at least we hope so. Part of me joins you in the desire to just turn off the daily news and check in every 6 months or so for a big picture analysis. Part of me would like to live my own life that way, but that’s not the way the game is set up. In the end, for better or worse, the daily matters in both our public and personal lives.

  • Mike M.

    Ron Paul’s problem is pretty simple: although he will never come out and directly say it in these exact words, he is of the belief that the United States is a force for evil in the world, and that we had it coming to us on 9/11.

    This view is so far outside of the American mainstream that he would never have had a chance to win even if he were not almost 75 years old. It’s a shame that he feels this way too, because he is right on the money on so many other critical issues.

  • Andrew Allison

    I fear that I must differ with WRM on this subject. The fact that Romney squeaked by in MI, where a few weeks ago he was the odds-on favorite is significant. Perhaps more significant is the fact that Romney won the “blue” counties (where he has no chance of beating Obama), Santorum the “red”.
    I predict that if Romney is the nominee, the Republicans will, deservedly, lose the House.

  • Kris

    “I predict that if Romney is the nominee, the Republicans will, deservedly, lose the House.”

    Baby, bathwater. If Conservatives respond to a Romney nomination not only by refusing to vote for him but by boycotting the election altogether, then they are unpatriotic imbeciles who will well deserve the results.

    Contra: “Operation Counterweight”.

  • ms

    I plan to vote for the Republican candidate even if he is not the person I wanted in the primary. Isn’t that true for most people in the party? Since Romney is smart, articulate, good-looking, a fine family man and possessed of a wealth of relevant experience to solve the problems that plague the country, I’m really not seeing why Republicans “deserve” to lose if he is the nominee.

  • Tom Richards

    I’m not a huge fan of any Republican candidate – and nor am I a US citizen. I prefer Romney, who I merely dislike in the way I dislike most politicians, to Santorum, who I think is a. a loon, and b. the worst of all possible worlds, namely a big government social conservative.

    But I do think Romney is probably incapable of winning an election. He’s just . . . wierd. Socially awkward. Out of touch with the common experience of humanity. He has no charisma whatsoever, and Obama will eat him alive.

    Still, what I’m really hoping for is a noticeable vote for Gary Johnson, and having such a clear blue ocean between him and the two established party candidates can only be a good thing in that regard.

  • Lorenz Gude

    It’s a long way to election day but my sense of the election is that the public likes Obama but not his policies. That is why he got a shellacking in 2010. I think the most likely outcome is that he will retain the presidency but face both a Republican House and Senate. Personally I favor divided government because I think that neither party has much in the way of answers much less anything resembling WRM’s liberalism 5.0.

  • JCP Brown

    The Republican primaries as “not real news”. Very true. It appears to be that time of the 4-year election cycle when partisan passions and partisan hackery are set loose and given free reign. From abroad, it all looks like the usual circus with the predictable, and oftimes amusing, flip-out over conservative candidates. The untold story, so far, imho, is the ever greater dependence of campaigns on social media & net-generated buzz – its almost as if this is obvious, default-mode of campaigning, but in many parts of the free-elections world, this is not the case. It would not be surprizing if such web-trends would escape the view & interest of traditional print media (liberal) & the shockjocks of rightwing radio & FoxNews.

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